Pony Express Trail – El Dorado County
May 13, 2019
In 1858 El Dorado County opened a new road following the Highway 50 corridor. Running along the hillside above the river, it provided an easier grade than the 1852 Johnson Cutoff that followed the ridge above the river. This became the route of choice for the later emigrants to California and for the traffic to the Comstock starting in 1859. It was also the route of the Pony Express from April 1860 to October 1861. Working with an Eldorado National Forest archaeologist, on Monday, May 13, 2019 the California-Nevada Chapter will be verifying segments of the road. This will be a great opportunity to explore a road so crowded during the Comstock that if a wagon got out of line, the wait to continue travel often stretched for hours.
Carson Route – South off Present Day Paved Mormon Emigrant Trail to Camp Creek. Planned for June 2019
The early emigrants on the Carson Route avoided climbing and descending Iron Mountain by turning south to Camp Creek for water and a less arduous climb. A timber sale project is in the future for this area of the trail and verification of the early route will ensure its protection. Wagon ruts, a rarity in this terrain, are visible on the hill. This will be a one mile downhill only walk as we can drive to the creek and leave a vehicle.
Carson Route – Brown Rock Area
Planned for July 2019
As the emigrants neared Placerville, Brown Rock was a well-known landmark. A fuel reduction project is scheduled for this area. It is important that the trail is verified before the project. This is on paved Mormon Emigrant Trail (MET) that goes from Pollock Pines- Sly Park to Highway 88. Although the Carson Route has been mapped several times along MET, last season we discovered much needs to be re-verified.
Carson Route – East of Tragedy Spring
Planned for August 2019
East and south of Tragedy Spring is a mapped section of the Carson Route that needs to be verified as there is a discrepancy between maps and the marked trail. It is a little over a half mile one-way downhill walk as a vehicle can be left for the uphill return. This work is important for the preservation of the trail.
Johnson Cutoff – Tahoe Valley
Planned for August 2019
East of Echo Summit the Johnson Cutoff followed the general route of today’s Pioneer Trail to South Shore. Road work in planned for the Pioneer Trail corridor. The Johnson Cutoff has never been located in this area. This may be our last chance to locate trail sections in this location.
Georgetown Pack Trail
Planned for September 2019
The Georgetown Pack Trail was opened in 1850 from Carson Valley to the town of Georgetown in El Dorado County. It later became a wagon road. The CANV Mapping Team, under the leadership of Lloyd Johnson, mapped most of the trail on National Forest land several years ago. Recently, Eldorado National Forest archaeologists have discovered a section of old road that has not been verified. This work will be NE of Union Valley Reservoir in the Crystal Basin area of the Eldorado NF.
Luther Pass Road – Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
2019 – Date to be determined.
Luther Pass Road was a connector between the Carson Route out of Nevada to the Johnson Cutoff/1858 El Dorado County Road during the Comstock strike. This became the main route to the Nevada mines. Due to the heavy traffic to the mines and back to Sacramento for supplies there could have been alternative road segments in heavily congested areas.
Last season some short, alternative routes were found heading from Luther Pass to Hope Valley. This season we hope to connect the sections. We will be working with the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF archaeologists